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Strawberries grow best in well drained soil that has been amended with organic
matter. Strawberries should not be planted near eggplants, peppers, potatoes,
raspberries, or tomatoes have grown because strawberries are susceptible to
verticillium wilt. It is also advisable to move strawberries beds whenever
verticillium wilt appears. Soils with high lime content may be unsuitable for this
Strawberries need to be protected from freezing during the winter months.
In addition to mulching strawberries, planting strawberries at the top of a gentle
slope helps minimize winter kill and frost damage to blossoms.
Strawberries can be planted in rows or hills in areas that receive at least 6 hours
of sunlight per day. Plant the plants 15 to 18 inches apart in rows spaced about 2
feet apart. When planting bare root strawberries, trim the roots to six inches
Dig holes deep enough to accommodate the roots. Inside the hole, mound
enough dirt to be able to have the plant sit on the mound with its roots spread
evenly around it. The base of the crown should be at soil level. If the crown is set
too high above the ground, the plant will dry out. Smooth and water to settle the
soil. If the plants experience a drought immediately after planting, it may stunt the
growth of the plants. Inspect after frost to see if any plants were lifted out of the
soil. If they were, gently push them back into the soil and cover.
Plants begin to bear fruit heavily in their second season. First year blooms should
be removed to encourage further growth. Strawberries need at least one inch of water
per week while the plants are blossoming and until the end of the harvest.
After the first harvest in the second season, renovate the plants by mowing them
down to about 1 inch above the crown, rake the leaves, fertilize (10-10-10 works
well for them) and then water heavily to soak in. Do not get fertilizer on the
While the fruit is still young, put a layer of straw or newspaper (with nontoxic ink)
around the plants for protection. It will keep the fruit from being splashed with
mud, manure or other products mixed into the soil.
In fall, apply 3-4 inches of straw mulch around the plants and beds for weather
protection. Strawberries enjoy organic matter such as aged manure and compost.
Berries usually ripen 4 to 6 weeks after the blossoms open.
Healthy strawberry beds generally yield five to ten quarts of strawberries for 10 feet of
planted bed. Strawberry plants will usually live and produce three or five years before needing to be replaced.